Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

Caiscais to Marina Parque das Nacoes

02 October 2020
Peter Cariss (edited by Donna Cariss)
After a great time, we left Cascais and fore-sailed the 6 miles to Oeiras Marina for 2 nights, really just to check it out as we had plenty of time now. We didn't have to be in Marina Parque das Nacoes until the 1st October. The marina was very small with not much manoeuvring room to play with, so we had to be careful. Once safely alongside it was off to check out the area. A little disappointing really, not much there. Ted tried fishing again and caught a bream and a nice sized mullet, which stunk. No wonder nobody wants them and they are the only fish in the sea. We put them back, the bream also being a bit on the small side. We left after 2 days to our final destination for the Winter, Marina Parque das Nacoes, 12 miles up the River Tagus. It's a good place to over-winter but seems to be lacking something; maybe a bit of investment. Everything you need is here though, shops, trains and buses. It was developed for the 1998 Expo, which is on the side of the marina and I would think was a really great place to be but unfortunately I don't think time has served it well. However, it suits our needs. So all in all this year I have sailed 1823 miles on our yacht, from Grimsby to here and then to help Ted, I sailed a further 245 miles, giving a grand total of 2068 miles and I am ready for a rest. Ted has gone back to his boat in La Rochelle yesterday (1st October) so I have a month to do the jobs and rest before the lift out around the 1st November.

The Spanish Rias to Lisbon

26 September 2020
Peter Cariss (edited by Donna Cariss)
We weighed anchor and set off for a Cabedelo marina, half way to Porto. It didn't really warrant a mention but was a safe haven for the night after a terribly uncomfortable day on the Ocean, with massive swells and 20 knots plus of wind on the nose. We had to traverse the waves at a forty degree angle as the slamming was so bad, but this added time onto the journey. Once inside the marina, it was time for dinner and straight to bed, in preparation for a very early departure for Porto, next morning. On route we had a pod of dolphins, about 30 to 40 strong, playing around the boat for about 20 minutes, which provided a great photo opportunity. Tiger Tim has always wanted to visit Porto so he helmed the boat into the river and motored the mile to Douro marina. To say we were disappointed was an understatement. It wasn't picturesque at all. We met Ted there, who had driven down from La Rochelle to take the boat to Lisbon with me as it was time for Tim to return home. So, it was a night on the tiles for the 3 Amigos once more. We went to an area known for its fish restaurants and had sea bass and brill with all the trimmings, oh and a few beers!!! The morning after, we walked up river the 3 miles to the bridge where the old town is. This is the Porto everyone talks about; beautiful. We were really pleased to have seen it and wouldn't hesitate to return for a long weekend. However, time was running out and Tim had to be at the airport for 1545 and we needed to provision the boat. The 3 amigos were now down to 2 but after mourning the loss of Tim and before his bones were cold, the 2 remaining amigos went back on the lash, Tim who? We couldn't have too much though as it was an early start, next day, for the 67 mile trip to Figueira da Foz. The weather was not looking too good; 20 knots plus on the nose forecast for the afternoon, so made haste. Once out of the river, the dolphins were around again for most of the morning. We ate an orange and walnut salad for lunch before the weather, which never materialised, was due to kick in. There wasn't much in Figuiera da Foz but we managed a few beers and to provision the boat. Next day we left at 0900, as we had to wait to hand back the key for the gate and headed for Peniche, some 60 miles south. This place was worth a visit and had many beautiful fish restaurants along the high street. Ted and I shared a seafood platter consisting of bream, salmon, swordfish, sardines, lobster and giant prawns; delicious. Our next port of call was Cascais, 47 miles in strong northerlies, allowing us to goose wing down the coast. At last some real sailing with the winds touching 25 knots and a reef in the main and genoa. It was exhilarating. Previously, the winds had predominantly been on the nose and added to the Atlantic current and relentless swell, things had been uncomfortable, tiring and frustrating. We arrived at Cascais at 1415 and checked into the reception pontoon. This is another beautiful place and nothing like the rest of Portugal we had seen so far. No high rise buildings, just thoughtful, low-lying ones and very pretty. The old town has many bars and restaurants and has a bit of a cosmopolitan feel to it. At last Ted found the piri piri chicken he'd been after and he wasn't at all disappointed. We followed it with a couple of beers, before returning to the boat for a glass of port and bed. It had been a long day but tomorrow we will stay here and relax.

A Coruna to the Rias

23 September 2020
Donna Cariss
We left A Coruna for a anchourage at Islas Sisargas really just to save on time the next day. It was 20 miles away, then it was 67 miles to the second of four Rias, Ria de Arousa. This one seemed to tick all the boxes for Tiger Tim and i. It wasnt all plane sailing as Cabo Finisterre is renouned for fog, and we was not disapionted. Also on route the VHF radio anounced that Orca were in the area and should not be approched, later we found out why. The Orca had attacked four boats in the area damaging rudders and injuring people. (search the internet. Its really scary). We anchoured in the first bay with shelter from the Atlantic swelland got our heads down. The next day we went to Porto O Xufre for fuel, we had noticed some vibration on the helm and once the fuel was purchased i had to reverse of the wall and the vibration turned to thumping i would have to investigate. Then we had to go back a little way to tha most beautiful anchourage Punta do Cabalo. Once anchoured i put on my mask and snorkle and jumped over the side and immediatley i saw the problem, a birds nest of monofiliment rope and netting around the prop. After 4 or 5 dives with a knife it was sorted. After sorting the boat we went ashore to the lighthouse bar for a few G and Ts then to the bar next door owned by Salvor and Suzan who made use very welcome. The next day we got the bikes out and cycled back to the town for procisions and obviously a couple of beers, then once back we folded the bikes and returned them to the boat. The afternoon was filled by swimming and messing about with boats as men do. Then we went back to the bar for our last night there. Salvor and Suzan made us unbelevably welcome with a large plate of muscles from his farm and a bottle of wine all on the house. All their family was there who wanted us to mix in with them, unbelivebly friendy, cant thank them enough, real ambassadors of their country. We also met the Plastic Terminator who kiyaks out to the island and pics up the rubbish (plastic_terminator) please check him out what a great guy, hes on instagram. The morning after we left for the fourth Ria, Ria de Vigo whilst watch out for the Orca, we saw none of them but we did have a pod of dolphins with us for 10 mins. See photos. We anchoured at the first bay on the north Punta Robaleira in a thunderstorm but once cleared you could have been anywhere, unbelivable beauty, i could have spent a season just in the four Rias. We spent 2 nights there and the first morning took the dingy into town 2 bays away for provisions. On the way we motored through a large pod of resident dolphins, whom played around the dingy and treated us to the same treatment on the way back, unbeliveble. It was soon time to head sou head southand leave this wounderfull place, heading for Porto and Lisbon


La Rochelle to A Coruna

16 September 2020
Peter Cariss (edited by Donna Cariss)
I'm really sorry for the lack of blogs lately but I have been a little busy. Donna, as you know, has returned home, so the spelling and grammar will suffer, unless she edits the blogs before you read them!
Tim Gorton joined me in La Rochelle, although he almost missed his flight, having arrived at Manchester without his bag, complete with passport and wallet and had to return almost all the way back to Howden to pick it up. One speeding ticket later, he just about made the last call for the flight. Ted and I collected Tim, having dropped Donna off a little earlier and we made the four hour drive north to Douarnenez, where Ted had left Waylander. The plan was for Ted and I to sail Waylander down to La Rochelle, as quickly as possible, while Tim drove down with the car, providing him with an opportunity to chill out on Muirgen. As it was, we all spent two nights in Douarnenez before leaving. Ted and I retraced my and Donna's steps, through le Raz de Sein, calling at Sainte-Evette, Locmaria (Belle Ile), where Donna wanted to go but the wind was in the wrong direction, Piriac sur Mer and Les Sables d'Olonne, arriving in La Rochelle on Friday afternoon. The three of us went out for a few beers and a kebab.
On Saturday morning, I was keen to start showing Tim what sailing is all about and we departed for Port Medoc, a charming marina on the south side of the Gironde estuary. From there, we did a 33 hour over-nighter directly to Santander in Spain, approximately 175 nautical miles. We managed to sail for about 24 hours of that time. We saw a few bait balls (large shoals of small fish) on the way, given away by the birds diving and there were large tuna and dolphins feeding. We lowered the French courtesy flag and raised the Spanish one, as we crossed into Spanish waters. We expected Santander to be a big, commercial port, with nothing much else to offer but we were very pleasantly surprised. The scenery was stunning, with many beaches, green spaces and pretty buildings. We motored the two miles downriver to the marina astonished by the beauty of the area. We spent two nights in the marina, by the airport, in order to recover from our trip.
The northern coast was beautiful, with cliffs and mountains and bays and beaches. We travelled for forty miles before settling in an anchorage at Isla re Arnielles O Borizu, between Santander and Gijon. It was sheltered from the wind but not from the Atlantic swell, so a rolling night was anticipated. We had a swim to the shore and had a walk along the beach, before swimming back for something to eat.
The following day, Thursday, we headed for Cudillero, about 54 miles away. It was another beautifully scenic motor along the coast, with no wind and an east going tidal stream. We had a virtual drinks night with Donna and Tim's wife Sarah, via Messenger.
The next day was another long one, as ports and anchorages are few and far between but we saw lots of dolphins, feeding, along the way. We made better time than expected though, so pushed on an extra 10 miles to reach Viveiro, which has a yacht marina hidden inshore. There was plenty of shelter, so we dropped anchor outside the marina instead.
On Saturday morning we departed for A Coruna, a milestone in our trip, being the next major city beyond Santander and Gijon (where we didn't stay). A Coruna is stunning, especially the old town, where the narrow alleys, streets and squares are packed with tapas bars, providing a labyrinthine beauty. Obviously we had to sample a few bars and eat some tapas. The next day we did the chores, washing, engine oil change and provisioning, before setting sail in the late afternoon to an anchorage twenty miles away. We dropped anchor south of Sisarga Grande, a small island, with the smaller island of Illa Malante just east of us. Tomorrow (Monday) will be a long trip past Finistere, on the west coast of Spain.

Waylander

05 September 2020
Donna Cariss
After I had flown home and Ted and Pete had collected Tim, who flew in as I flew out, the three guys headed back north to Douarnenez, where Ted had left Waylander. The plan was for Tim to drive Ted's car back down to La Rochelle and spend a few days relaxing on Muirgen, whilst Ted and Pete sailed Waylander down to La Rochelle. They wouldn't be taking the long, scenic route though.
They left Douarnenez and went through Le Raz de Sein, to moor on the bouys at Sainte-Evette. The second day they headed directly to Piriac, followed by Locmaria, the beautiful place on I'll d'Yeu that we couldn't anchor due to the wind direction. Day four was Quai Garner, at Les Sables d'Olonne and then on to La Rochelle.
I gather the boys had a decent night out, with beers and a kebab, to set Tim and Pete up for their sail to Port Medoc, where they will have no time to go wine tasting.
Pete didn't take his camera on Waylander, so sadly there are no pictures at this time. I have seen the video of all the dolphins, so hopefully there are also photos on a phone somewhere which might make it onto the Gallery.
That's it from me. Tim or Pete will update on their travels to Spain at some point soon. Watch this space.

La Rochelle

29 August 2020
Donna Cariss
La Rochelle
An omission from the previous blog; I forgot to mention the John Dory, or St Pierre, as it's known in France. Pete bought it in the fish market, prior to leaving Saint-Martin-de-Re. It was delicious, simply pan fried in olive oil and then basted in paprika butter, alongside a tomato salad. We ate it for lunch, at anchor, off Ile de Re.
Port de Minimes, in La Rochelle, has 4300 berths. On entry to the marina, there is a long reception pontoon with a small office, where you pull alongside to check in and be allocated a berth. The staff come out to take your lines too. Knowing that Muirgen would be here for a while, we were pleased to find that every third night is free when you pay upfront, making this one of the cheapest marinas per night we have visited, at €70 for 3 nights. The staff jumped in a dory and directed us to our berth and were on hand again to take the lines, which was lucky, as the wind was blowing is off the pontoon quite strongly and it was the wrong side for the reverse kick.
Following a tidy up and a light lunch, we walked into La Rochelle, via the coastal promenade, passing all the marine supply shops, the Ville de Bois and into Le Vieux Port. Here we found a proper bar, with a good range of beers, where we could sit outside and enjoy the views, which included the old port, the red and green lighthouses which form the transit for entry and the towers at each end of the city walls. We had a wander around the old port area and shops nearby, where Pete was reprimanded by a gendarme for forgetting to wear his face mask, which was obligatory in this busy area of the city. Rain was forecast for early evening, so we returned to the boat, via a City Carrefour, where we provisioned with beer, wine and chicken for dinner. The squally rain hit as we were heading for the shower block, soaking is through but had cleared temporarily when we returned. It was very humid, so the hatches were up and down all evening, as the rain showers came and went. We enjoyed video calls with Mum and Dad and with Paul and Nancy, ensuring Pete stayed up until after 11pm. I expect he will be grumpy tomorrow.
I was up Friday morning, showered and had been on a trip to find a boulangerie before Pete rolled out of bed at around 9.30am. As we were expecting guests, we cleaned the boat from top to bottom inside. I did the galley, the cooker, both heads and the cabin and Pete swept and vacuumed the floor. Not exactly a fair division of labour! In the afternoon, we visited the Musee Maritime, which was good value at €9 each. There are three parts to the museum, the first being the history of La Rochelle, which I was surprised to learn had been in British hands a number of times. The second part is the three ships, a massive weather ship, where you can explore all areas and which also houses sailing memorabilia and celebrates Bernard Moitessier, the 1968 Golden Globe race and other fascinating travellers. The other ships are a trawler and a tug. There are then around 50 old yachts, mostly wooden, including yawls, ketches and sloops, all in excellent condition. The third part of the museum deals with the oceans and climate change. We were parched after two and a half hours in the museum, as all their cafes and bars were closed, so we walked to the harbour side for a couple of beers. Ted joined us by the second beer, having driven down from Douarnenez. We remained in town for dinner, it being my last night. I selected La Grand Rive, a slightly Asian fusion restaurant, with a view across Le Vieux Port to the towers. For my last supper, I ate baked camembert, followed by tuna steak with sesame, creamed white and sweet potatoes and wok fried vegetables, washed down with a bottle of muscadet sur lies (Pete and Ted shared the wine!). The tuna was divine and Pete and Ted, who were eating mussels, had food envy. Luckily we were under a canopy as we had two torrential downpours while eating and were treated to two rainbows. We visited another couple of bars on our way back, one by the maritime museum, which was like a student bar and then Le Bistrot Des Robinsons, right by the marina, because another torrential downpour had started. This bar was rather bizarre, with model animals hanging all over the place.
It's now Saturday morning and I am packed and tying up loose ends, including writing this, my last blog. Tim Gorton is on his way to Manchester airport to fly out here, as I fly back and he will be our guest editor for the duration of his stay. I imagine the blog will be a very different style and packed with humour. I will also be leaving Tim a note detailing how to take care of Pete, such as making sure he has his reading glasses, his mask and some toothpicks if they are going out and how to get half man, half mattress out of bed. Good luck, Tim :-)
For those that are interested in statistics, we visited 33 places, including the 3 in the UK, with berths totalling approximately £1075. We stayed more than one night in some places, as you will have read and spent some nights at anchor (see details below).

Places visited:
Cromer
Shotley (Harwich)
Ramsgate
Boulogne
Saint Valery en Caux (2)
Port en Bassin
Cherbourg
Dielette (2)
Granville (2)
St Malo
Ile des Hebihens (anchorage)
Saint Quay Portrieux (2)
Treguier (1 night marina & 2 nights at anchor)
Roscoff
L'Aber-Wrac'h (1 night at anchor & 1 in marina)
Camaret (2 nights on buoy)
Morgat (2 different anchorages & 2 nights marina)
Sainte-Evette (Audierne) (mooring buoy)
Loctudy
Concarneau (2)
Port Tudy, Ile de Groix (anchorage)
Sauzon, Belle-Ile (2 nights on buoy)
Vannes (2)
Ile aux Moines, Gulf of Morbihan (anchorage)
Piriac sur Mer
Pornichet (2)
Port-Joinville, Ile d' Yeu (3)
Quai Garnier, Les Sables d' Olonne
Ile de Re (2 anchorages & 1 night in marina)
La Rochelle (2 nights so far)

We have spent £465 on diesel and run the engine for around 120 hours. We have travelled over 1000 miles from Grimsby to La Rochelle. Provisioning has been expensive, using small city supermarkets and individual shops but the quality of the food has been very good. Just under a grand spent on groceries, wine and beer, with a further £800 spent on entertainment (eating and drinking out and visiting museums etc.). Average spend has worked out at £500 per week, which is more than I had hoped but anchoring opportunities have been few and far between.

Muirgen will remain in La Rochelle for a few more days, while Pete and Ted transfer Waylander from Douarnenez to La Rochelle, over 3 to 4 days maximum. Muirgen will then continue on her journey to Spain.

A bientot.
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
4 Photos
Created 2 October 2020
16 Photos
Created 26 September 2020
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Created 23 September 2020
11 Photos
Created 27 August 2020
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Created 18 July 2020
Photos of Muirgen preparations
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39 Photos
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30 Photos
Created 1 July 2017
15 Photos
Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
9 Photos
Created 17 June 2017
11 Photos
Created 15 June 2017
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Created 15 June 2017
The Beautiful Kvitsoy
5 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
8 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
13 Photos
Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
12 Photos
Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016